“A big fan?”

“Of professional wrestling. See, I recognized her from her old wrestling days. Did you know Esperanza Diaz used to be Little Pocahontas, the Indian Princess?”

Win glanced at Myron. “Yes, Brian, I know.”

“Really?” Brian was big-time excited now. “Little Pocahontas was my absolute fave, bar none. An awesome wrestler. Top drawer. I mean, she used to enter the ring in this skimpy suede bikini, right, and then she’d start grappling with other chicks, bigger chicks really, writhing around on the floor and stuff—swear to God, she was so hot my fingernails would melt.”

“Thank you for the visual,” Win said. “Anything else, Brian?”

“No.”

“Do you know who her attorney of record is?”


“No.” Then: “Oh, one other thing. She’s got someone, well, sort of with her.”

“Sort of with her, Brian?”

“Outside. On the front steps of the courthouse.”

“I’m not sure I’m following you,” Win said.

“Out in the rain. Just sitting there. If I didn’t know better, I’d swear it was Little Pocahontas’s old tag team partner, Big Chief Mama. Did you know Big Chief Mama and Little Pocahontas were Intercontinental tag team champions three years running?”

Win sighed. “You don’t say.”

“Whatever Intercontinental means. I mean, what is that, Intercontinental? And I’m not talking about recently. Five, eight years ago, at least. But, man, they were awesome. Great wrestlers. Today, well, the league has no class anymore.”

“Grappling bikini-clad women,” Win said. “They just don’t make them like they used to.”

“Right, exactly. Too many fake, inflated breasts nowadays, at least that’s how I see it. One of them is going to land on her stomach and bam, her boob is going to blow out like a worn tire. So I don’t follow it much anymore. Oh, maybe if I’m flipping the channels and something catches my eye, I might watch a little—”

“You were talking about a woman out in the rain?”

“Right, Win, right, sorry. Anyway, she’s out there, whoever she is. Just sitting there. The cops went by before and asked her what she was doing. She said she was going to wait for her friend.”

“So she’s there right now?”

“Yep.”

“What does she look like, Brian?”

“Like the Incredible Hulk. Only scarier. And maybe greener.”

Win and Myron exchanged glances. No doubt. Big Chief Mama aka Big Cyndi.

“Anything else, Brian?”

“No, not really.” Then: “So you know Esperanza Diaz?”

“Yes.”

“Personally?”

“Yes.”

Silent awe. “Jesus, you lead some life, Win.”

“Oh, indeed.”

“Think you can get me her autograph?”

“I’ll do my best, Brian.”

“A picture autograph maybe? Of Little Pocahontas in costume? I’m a really big fan.”

“So I gather, Brian. Good-bye.”

Win hung up and sat back. He looked over at Myron. Myron nodded. Win picked up the intercom and gave the driver directions to the courthouse.

Chapter 4

By the time they arrived at the courthouse in Hackensack, it was nearly 10:00 P.M. Big Cyndi sat in the rain, shoulders hunched; at least Myron thought it was Big Cyndi. From a distance, it looked like someone had parked a Volkswagen Bug on the courthouse steps.

Myron stepped out of the car and approached. “Big Cyndi?”

The dark heap let loose a low growl, a lioness warning off an inferior animal who’d wandered astray.

“It’s Myron,” he said.

The growl deepened. The rain had plastered Big Cyndi’s hair spikes to her scalp, as if she were sporting an uneven Caesar coif. Today’s color was hard to decipher—Big Cyndi liked diversity in her follicular tint—but it didn’t look like any hue found in the state of nature. Big Cyndi sometimes liked to combine dyes randomly and see what happened. She also insisted on being called Big Cyndi. Not Cyndi. Big Cyndi. She had even had her name legally changed. Official documents read: Cyndi, Big.

“You can’t stay here all night,” Myron tried.

She finally spoke. “Go home.”

“What happened?”

“You ran away.” Big Cyndi’s voice was childlike, lost.

“Yes.”

“You left us alone.”

“I’m sorry about that. But I’m back now.”

He risked another step. If only he had something to placate her with. Like a half gallon of Häagen-Dazs. Or a sacrificial goat.

Big Cyndi started to cry. Myron approached slowly, semileading with his right hand in case she wanted to sniff it. But the growls were all gone now, replaced by sobs. Myron put his palm on a shoulder that felt like a bowling ball.

“What happened?” he asked again.

She sniffled. Loudly. The sound almost dented the limo’s fender. “I can’t tell you.”

“Why can’t you?”

“She said not to.”

“Esperanza?”

Big Cyndi nodded.

“She’s going to need help,” Myron said.

“She doesn’t want your help.”

The words stung. The rain continued to fall. Myron sat on the step next to her. “Is she angry about my leaving?”

“I can’t tell you, Mr. Bolitar. I’m sorry.”

“Why not?”

“She told me not to.”

“Esperanza can’t bear the brunt of this on her own,” Myron said. “She’s going to need a lawyer.”

“She has one.”

“Who?”

“Hester Crimstein.”

Big Cyndi gasped as though she realized she’d said too much, but Myron wondered if the slip had been intentional.

“How did she get Hester Crimstein?” Myron asked.

“I can’t say any more, Mr. Bolitar. Please don’t be mad at me.”

“I’m not mad, Big Cyndi. I’m just concerned.”

Big Cyndi smiled at him then. The sight made Myron bite back a scream. “It’s nice to have you back,” she said.

“Thank you.”

She put her head on his shoulder. The weight made him teeter, but he remained relatively upright. “You know how I feel about Esperanza,” Myron said.

“Yes,” Big Cyndi said. “You love her. And she loves you.”

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